500 words for 500 days (day 23)

Nature is the best medicine

Autumn in a forest can be magical

I love walking in nature. In the summertime, life is thriving everywhere, enjoying the abundance of food and sunshine — fruits and berries are ripe and ready to be eaten, the grass is green and the trees provide a lovely shade to cool yourself down after walking in a sparkling sunshine. Autumn brings me a mild sense of melancholy, the crunch of the leaves under my feet as I slowly walk around the botanical garden, combined with a cool breeze which carries an astonishing mix of aromas of flora from different corners of the globe preparing themselves for a winter, clears my mind and slowly entails me in a state of sweet sadness, the kind of bittersweetness brought by the beauty of passing time. In winter I would only go for walks once the snow fully covers everything — I love how quiet it becomes, as snow absorbs all of the sounds, and how bright an clear it makes everything look as it reflects the sunlight like a million tiny mirrors scattered around. Late spring is perhaps my favorite time of the year — as all of the snow melts away, the muddy roads of early spring begin to dry up and the flowers and trees begin to blossom, walking around in the forest or hiking on a hill brings me immense happiness and joy, and I can spend entire days walking outside and exploring the newborn nature.

Tbilisi botanical garden

I think that people should spend more time appreciating the world without overwhelming human intervention — the part of the world that lives despite our constant and increasing efforts to eradicate and pollute it. After all, our ancestors have spent tens of thousands of years living in the wild, and because of that our genes have a lot of reward centers that associate beautiful and lively nature with a sense of calmness and happiness. Because nature was our home for such a long time, it provided us with everything we needed — food, shelter, a sense of belonging, when we are deprived of it we feel less motivated, more stressed and lost. Sure our modern houses have a comfortable temperature, protection from any nastiness that bad weather may bring, an internet connection that can bring us endless entertainment in form of countless movies and video games, and an effortless supply of food, but our monkey brain long for the green jungles of rainforests, the gorgeous valleys in the mountains and endless woodlands of the north. We can try to substitute this need for nature with some flowers on our balcony or a small park in the middle of a city, but nothing can replace the beauty and power of untouched nature.

So if you are feeling a little down, or you simply have some free time on your hands, instead of watching another mindless show on Netflix or spending a whole day playing Dota 2, not that there is anything wrong with those two activities, try to go to a large park, or a nature reserve nearby — any place where animals can walk freely, or at least where you can walk for half an hour without being interrupted by cars or concrete buildings. After all, there is a famous saying that nature is the best medicine.